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Five Things You Need to Know: Bailout Passes, Stocks Limp


The bottom line is that despite the bailout, risk in owning stocks has increased, not decreased.


Kevin Depew's Five Things You Need to Know to stay ahead of the pack on Wall Street:

How can this be? How can the passage of the Bailout Bill find stocks limping awkwardly into the close? Wasn't this supposed to be our finest hour? The desperate resolution to the year-long crisis? Well, the reality we have tried to reveal here in Minyanville is that the Bailout simply will not work.

Realizing it is not enough, by Monday morning expect some additional Federal Reserve action, perhaps a rate cut, maybe even a coordinated move between the Fed and European and Asian central banks. Even so, the market is too big, the debt crisis too large, for central banks to control.

This is evidenced by the action (and the lack of it) that continues to take place behind the back of the equities market in credit markets. Even upon passage, few corporate bonds are trading, and those that do are trading at levels that indicate a fear that there will be either massive bankruptcies - even with the passage of the bill - or that the holders of the paper are in serious trouble and in desperate need of capital.

The credit markets have spoken. And they are saying - no, they have been saying all along - that the $700 billion Bailout Bill is nothing but a gnat attacking a buffalo. There has been an ongoing disconnect between stocks and credit markets for months now and even the action on Monday did little to correct it.

Risk in equities remains high on both sides. You can't short stocks because if it is not already illegal, it is too risky to try and match wits (and capital) against the SEC, Treasury, Federal Reserve and Federal Government. No one really knows what desperate rule, mandate, acronym or Fed action will cross the wire next, temporarily crushing short sellers. Similarly, you can't buy stocks either, because doing so means you are essentially gambling on the success of the SEC, Treasury, Federal Reserve and Federal Government.

There is a facade of normalcy to the markets at this stage, a dangerous one. Because the markets are continuing to open at 9:30 a.m. and close at 4 p.m. like always, there is the deceptive sense that things are functioning. They are not.

This is an historic time, and a dangerous one. Decisions have been made in the past two weeks that will impact the functioning of markets in still unknown ways for the next 25 years.

Although unprecedented in magnitude, the TARP being proposed falls somewhere on the other side of both the Resolution Trust Corporation that was created to handle the Savings & Loan crisis in 1989 and the Reconstruction Finance Corporation created in 1932 to deal with massive bank failures and the inability to get credit into the economy.

How did markets respond to the Reconstruction Finance Corp. passage in 1932?

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What about the RTC in 1989?

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Keep in mind, the RTC came eight years into one of the the largest bull market in history. Know where the Dow and S&P 500 were eight years ago? 11,388 and 1255, respectively.

Meanwhile, there is only one thing necessary to understanding what is happening and it is this: no one at U.S. Banks, no one at the Federal Reserve and no one in politics can accept the reality that real estate assets in this country remain oversupplied, overpriced and overleveraged.

It is that simple.

TAF, TSLF, SuperSIV, TARP, none of that matters. No matter what acronym is created to disguise the fact that assets are overpriced, or what government intervention is created to prop up those asset prices, the market will inevitably overpower it. This time is not different. In fact, it is continuing to play out almost exactly as the Great Depression did. The bottom line is that despite the bailout, risk in owning stocks has increased, not decreased.

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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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